David Moyes joins Real Sociedad: I got advice from Sir Alex Ferguson before taking job in Spain, says manager

The club's first foreign player - John Aldridge - has backed 'Mister' Moyes to succeed in La Liga

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The Independent Football

David Moyes has called his move to Real Sociedad the “biggest challenge of my career” and revealed that he had consulted with Sir Alex Ferguson before accepting the job.

The Scot also delivered several barbs at Manchester United for the way he was unceremoniously axed from the manager’s job, just nine months after being appointed Ferguson’s successor

Moyes was impressive in his first appearance as Real Sociedad’s new coach, leaving no one in any doubt he sees succeeding abroad as the perfect way of reminding everyone why he got the United job in the first place.

When asked why he had only signed an 18-month contract with the Spanish club, he said: “I had a six-year contract at my last club and it lasted nine months, so don’t get caught up in how long the contract is. I still feel that I wasn’t given enough time to succeed in my last job but, hopefully, Real Sociedad will get the benefit of that now. Nine months would never be enough time for any manager.

“I’ll always believe that I was the right person for the job. But I will go away now and hope that the work I do is good and gets noticed the way that it did at Everton. I will work as hard as I can to make that happen. Most real football people realise that it was a transition period at United and it was always going to take time for anyone taking over from  Sir Alex Ferguson.”

Asked if he felt Manchester United’s worst start since 1986 under his replacement had gone a long way to vindicating him, he said: “Yes. And Louis van Gaal has to be given time to do the job. He needs to be given the players that he wants and he needs to get the right things from the transfer windows that come along.”


Moyes said he got a phone call from the Real Madrid coach, Carlo Ancelotti, on the day of his presentation and that he had spoken with Ancelotti’s No 2, Paul Clement, during the 10 days he took to make his decision. His chat with Ferguson was also key.

“I phoned Sir Alex about coming out,” Moyes said. “We spoke about the job. I told him that I thought this was a great opportunity and he backed me up. He thought it was a great chance for me.

“I had several opportunities in the Premier League but I felt that after the way things had gone, here would be the best place to come. It’s a big challenge to come and work in another country but I’m raring to go.”

The idea of being a British trailblazer abroad clearly appeals. “We have a lot of foreign coaches in the Premier League but no British managers plying their trade abroad,” he said. “If I can come here and succeed then it will hopefully open the way for others.

“This is my biggest challenge so far because it will show that British managers can go abroad and be successful. Some of the greatest managers in the history of British football have coached abroad. I would not put myself alongside Sir Bobby Robson and Terry Venables but I hope I will have come close to emulating them by the time I have finished here.

“I’ve always thought: ‘Why do we import the foreign coaches but we don’t ourselves go abroad?’ It will improve us because we’ll go back with new knowledge. It’s that thing about being able to come back and say: ‘This is how they do it in Spain, this is how they do it in Germany and Italy.’ And we don’t do that enough.”

“Paul Clement has told me how strong he felt the Spanish league is and when Carlo called me he said: “Great to see you back in football, and great to see you in Spain”.

Moyes knows that getting the wins that will take his team away from the bottom are priority but taking on the top two Real Madrid and Barcelona may not be out of the question in the long term, as Atletico Madrid have shown.

“I think Diego Simeone has done a great job there,” he said. “He has ruffled a few feathers and got results and we hope to do the same, but it is one step at a time.”

Asked by local reporters if his style was closer to Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola, Moyes replied: “Probably Mourinho, I like to be tough with the players. There is a lot of hard work ahead. This club reminds me of Everton when I first joined it. I hope I can make this team as competitive. I like to play football that people enjoy watching but most of all I want to win.”

Breaking the language barrier will be another of his first tasks. “It’s important in the early days that my translations are good and I’ll start my lessons on Monday, doing an hour every day if I can, and let’s hope that this Scottish boy can make good. I can feel the British Spanish accent coming on already.”

The early signs are that there is warmth between the new man and an institution that has embraced foreign players since 1989 – Liverpool’s John Aldridge being their first – and foreign managers long before then.

Aldridge backed “Mister” Moyes to succeed, saying: “It’s a fantastic decision by him. It’s the ideal club after the pressures of managing Manchester United.”